Label-free multiphoton microscopy of intracellular lipids using Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS)
Di Napoli, Claudia
Coherent Antistokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscopy has emerged in the last decade as a powerful multiphoton microscopy technique to rapidly image lipid droplets (LDs) label-free with intrinsic three-dimensional spatial resolution in cells.\ud \ud In this thesis I investigate and compare the ability of hyperspectral CARS and dual-frequency/differential CARS (D-CARS) to enable the chemical specificity required to distinguish lipids of different chemical composition. In hyperspectral CARS a series of spatially-resolved images are acquired over a frequency range thus proving high chemical specificity. In D-CARS two vibrational frequencies\ud are simultaneously excited and probed, and the resulting sum and difference CARS intensities are detected by a fast and efficient single photomultiplier. This results in a higher image speed than hyperspectral CARS and in an improved image contrast against the nonresonant CARS background with a straightforward data analysis.\ud \ud D-CARS and hyperspectral CARS techniques were applied to LDs in model and cellular systems. In model systems made by agarose gel, droplets of pure lipids with different degree of unsaturation (number of carbon-carbon double bonds in the fatty acyl chain) were used as test sample to compare Raman spectra with CARS spectra, and measure D-CARS images at specific chemically-selective wavenumbers. Building from this knowledge, cytosolic droplets induced by loading\ud fatty acids to the culture media of human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were distinguished in composition both in fixed cells and in living cells during differentiation into adipocytes. Furthermore, the application of a in-house developed Hyperspectral Image Analysis (HIA) software on hyperspectral data provided spatial distributions and absolute concentrations for the chemical components\ud of the investigated specimens. In particular quantitative information was extracted about the concentration of pure neutral lipid components within cytosolic LDs, and changes over time were inferred in living ADSCs according to the\ud type of pure fatty acid added to the culture media.